Driving Email Web Traffic with A/B Testing and Segmentation

Email
Content & Messaging
January 1, 2021
Food & Beverage

Key Takeaways

Email Tactic — A/B Testing Subject Lines: Hint regularly A/B tests their subject line and segments their email list. For the launch of their new Strawberry Lemon drink, Hint sent an email to a small batch of subscribers (13K) with the subject line “Subscriber Early Access.” The recipients of this email are likely to be loyal email subscribers, those who have 1) been subscribed for a long time or 2) engage frequently with their emails. Hint then sent another batch of emails to a larger group (148K) and removed “Subscriber Early Access” from the subject line. 

Email Tactic — Promotions: In May, Hint ran two email promotions: “Buy 5 and get the 6th case FREE + FREE Sunstick” and “FREE Hint Mask.” Both promotions also advertised free shipping. Hint generated the highest volume of email web traffic in May (58K), showing that these promotions resonated with the target audience.

For the “FREE Hint Mask” email campaign, Hint also added an additional promotion which was 15% off when you buy 3 cases.

Email Web Traffic — One CTA Per Email: Aside from their standard email footer, all of Hint’s emails follow the formula of one main creative and one CTA (usually a “Shop Now” CTA). Keeping their emails short and concise with only one clear directive allows Hint to direct customers to the exact location they want. As for their subscribers, they know exactly what to expect when opening Hint’s emails, leading to higher read rates and lower spam rates.

Content & Messaging — Clear and Direct Subject Lines: Hint saw the lowest spam rates when their email subject lines were clear and direct (i.e: Save 15% on 3 cases from our summer collection) rather than ambiguous (i.e: “Patience is a virtue”). Subscribers are not surprised about the email content and choose to read the email because the subject line clearly states what the email is about. 

Hint experienced a surge in web traffic at the beginning of March 2020, with a traffic increase of +148% between February and May.

One of the main contributing factors to the web traffic growth on desktop came from email. Starting in April, email web traffic grew +259% compared to the previous months.

Web Traffic

When looking at Hint’s overall email sending volume, they were not sending more emails than usual during April and May.

Email Send Volume

In April Hint launched a new water flavour and sent several emails announcing the new taste.

An email marketing best practice that Hint uses is segmenting and A/B testing their subject lines.

Hint sent the initial email to a small batch of subscribers (13K).  

The recipients of this email were likely to be loyal email subscribers, those who have:

  1. been subscribed for a long time and/or 
  2. engaged frequently with Hint’s emails

Hint sent the same email to another batch of subscribers, this time a larger group (148K). The brand removed “Subscriber Early Access” from the email subject line.

The last email in the series was sent to the similar-sized audience batch (106K) as the previous one. This time, Hint added a sense of urgency with the “For a Limited Time” subject line prefix.


In May Hint launched two new promotions:

Promotion

Similarly to the product launch campaign in April, Hint segmented and A/B tested email subject lines.

Subject line

For the free case and sunstick promotion, Hint sent emails in batches, similar to their April promotion.

Subject line

For the free Hint mask promotion, the company switched things up a bit by adding different email creatives as well.

Subject line

At the end of the promo period, Hint used the same email visuals to send the “last call” emails to selected audience groups.

In addition to their segmentation and A/B testing strategy, Hint emails also follow one particular tactic—one call to action per email.

Hint

Aside from their standard email footer, all of Hint’s emails contain one “Shop Now” CTA button. Keeping their emails short and concise with only one clear directive allows Hint to direct customers to the exact location they want. As for their subscribers, they know exactly what to expect when opening Hint’s emails, leading to higher read rates and lower spam rates.

Looking back at Hint’s average email send volume, the brand sent out 1.5x more emails on average in October and November than they did in April and May.

Email send Volume

Despite the higher volume of emails, the emails did not translate to higher email web traffic (and overall web traffic) for the brand.

October and November resulted in the highest average spam rate (11.3%) for Hint for the entire 2020, compared to the overall average of 5.4%.

One of the most noticeable changes Hint implemented (other than the sudden increase in send volume) was the approach to email subject lines.

Email subject lines were clear and direct — subscribers are not surprised about the email content and choose to read the email because it seems relevant to them (i.e. looking for updates on Hint products or upcoming/ongoing sales, etc.)

Email subject lines are more ambiguous — readers are less clear about what the email content will be about (is it to introduce a new product? Is it a sale email?).

Hint also started introducing more newsletter-type emails (e.g., “Letter from the Founder”, corporate social responsibility announcements, etc.) that strayed away from their previous product-focused emails.


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